The annual Guardians Half Marathon & 5K is the signature provincial run for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, in support of Special Olympics. What started in 2017 with 350 runners and $25,000 raised, grew to 450 runners and $32,000 raised in its second year. We are very excited for year three and hope to continue this incredible growth, supporting a cause that impacts so many lives every day.
Held at OPP Headquarters in Orillia, this event is hosted by an all-volunteer committee of Law Enforcement including Ontario Provincial and City Police, Provincial Corrections and Federal Corrections. Participants get to enjoy the gorgeous fall colours on a scenic 5K or half marathon course, and have the opportunity to meet Special Olympics athletes, who hand them their medals as they cross the finish line.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports training and competition. With programs across the province, over 26,000 athletes of all ages are participating in Special Olympics Ontario’s programs year round. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the largest fundraiser for Special Olympics and the Guardians Half Marathon is proud to be a part of this community. When asked about their favourite part of the event, participants responded:
“My favourite part was having Special Olympics athletes there. Being greeted by them at the finish line was amazing!”
“The fall leaves and the portion along the lake. It is a nice, personal event with friendly people hosting. Great cause for Special Olympics.”
“It was one of the best organized runs I have been to, with an incredible number of water stations.”
This year, the Guardians Half Marathon and 5K will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2019. The event is open to runners, joggers and walkers, on a course that includes trails, rural roads and waterfront. There is no time limit for either distance, and all participants will receive a race t-shirt and finisher’s medal. To learn more about registering or volunteering, please visit guardianshalfmarathon.com.
Top: Committee members and volunteers celebrate with Special Olympics athletes at the finish line. Above: John Stanton (centre) with Correctional Services and Institutional Crisis Intervention staff.
Photos: Jeff Cross / Prestige Photo Pro